A tale of two Bruces
In perhaps the biggest news of the day, Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell announced “a major step” in the establishment of the Seattle Bruce Lee Action Museum: A lunar New Year fundraiser. Harrell has been working with Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, on the project which he called “an urban infrastructure where youth of all backgrounds can embrace discipline, hard work, self-esteem, and a love of life.” We can’t wait to see Harrell show off his Kung-Fu skills.
Inslee’s not-so-disruptive change
Gov. Jay Inslee has finally appointed his director of the Ecology Department: Maia Bellon, the current water resources director in the department. Joel Connelly took aim at the decision with a seattlepi.com post today, noting:
“Inslee ran during the fall campaign with a promise to make ‘disruptive change,’ and repeated that promise after his inauguration as governor. He hired a head hunter to recruit cabinet-level talent. In staffing state government, however, he has filled cabinet jobs largely out of the existing state bureaucracy, or with people who have worked or served previously in the state capital.”
It’s an astute observation, though we have to wonder whether Connelly really expected anything that disruptive from Inslee after a campaign riddled with vague campaign promises. We didn’t, though we’re hoping he’ll surprise us one of these days. And you never know: "existing state bureaucrat" Maia Bellon may surprise us all.
GeekWire has mapped the tech boom in our neighborhood — that would be Pioneer Square. It was a bitch counting all those little blue dots on GeekWire’s new Pioneer Square/Waterfront Technology Ecosystem map, but it’s looking like more than 40 companies now call Pioneer Square home, including Intel, Zynga, Yabbly, Doxo, Opanga and our own Globe building neighbors Undead Labs.
It makes perfect sense that tech companies would be drawn to the Square. It’s a well-known fact that tech-prenuers favor brick and wood to steel and glass, and that they love to court risk. So why not locate in the one Seattle neighborhood least likely to survive a major earthquake? Intact, that is. Hey, Amazon: you can have South Lake Union. Give us the Square!
On Thursday, in response to public outcry from local residents and privacy advocates, Mayor Mike McGinn deep-sixed the city’s fledgling drone program. (Seattle PD is shipping its two small, unmanned aircraft back to their maker even as we type.) And right on cue comes the blowback — first from Bruce Harrell, chair of the City Council's public safety committee and a McGinn rival in the upcoming mayor’s race. Harrell told KUOW that instead of banning the drones, "the tougher decision, the hard work, would have been to come up with regulations that work.”
A pair of bills is shaping up in the Legislature that would require health plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortions. Crosscut's John Stang reports:
The Reproductive Parity Act will will go to a full House vote soon. The House's Health Care Committee recommended passage of the bill Friday 9-7 along party lines.
Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said insurance companies have been neutral on the House of Rep.'s bill, and that it would not affect their rates. "This is about a woman having the freedom and privacy to make the most important decision of her life," Jinkins said. Reps. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, and Shelly Short, R-Addy, argued that insurance companies already cover abortions because of market demands. "This is another mandate — plain and simple," Schmick said.
The Senate contingent was introduced by Sens. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, and Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island. If the 24-Democrat-minority remains united and Litzow sticks with the bill, it would have the 25 votes to pass on the Senate floor. But Republicans — who mostly oppose the bill — control the Senate Rules Committee, which can block a floor vote.
Buzzfeed tells us that Facebook has engaged Pixar/”Wallace and Gromit” illustrator Matt Jones (“Up”, “Monsters, Inc.”) to “reinvent the smiley face.” FB is seriously expanding its emoticon vocab with images for more complex emotions like “contemplation, admiration, affirmation, maternal love, determination, devotion, resignation, and gratitude.” (We may never have to speak — or write — again.) Jones is getting help from facial expression experts, as well as from Charles Darwin’s pre-“Origin of the Species” page turner “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.” Say cheese!
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